The order effectively applies to four Chinese airlines
The U.S. Department of Transportation is stopping passenger flights from China as of June 16, another sign of brewing tensions between the two world powers. The order effectively applies to four airlines, Air China, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, and Hainan Airlines. These airlines are currently operating a limited number of flights to the U.S.
United Airlines and Delta Air Lines wrote to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) that they wanted to restart their US-China flight operations from June 1. However, the Chinese aviation authority did not respond to their request.
“We conclude that these circumstances require the Department’s action to restore a competitive balance and fair and equal opportunity among the US and Chinese air carriers,” the Department of Transportation said. “Our overriding goal is not the perpetuation of this situation but rather an improved environment.”
CAAC is allowing limited flight operations from airlines from other countries, one flight a week for an airline. The Transportation Department feels that the order effectively locks out the U.S airlines from China. They also feel that the non-grant of permission violates that agreement between the two countries that govern air travel. The agreement was inked in 1980.
The frequency of foreign airline flights may be increased, especially from low-risk countries from June 8. The Chinese authorities are requiring airlines to follow strict health and safety protocols. Airlines have been given an extra flight in case they have no positive cases onboard their flights for three consecutive weeks.
The relations between the two countries have been icy for a while now. U.S. President Donald Trump applied trade tariffs to a number of commodities from China including steel and aluminum. To counter the effect, China also slapped a number of U.S. based goods with high tariffs.